If you practice yoga and meditation, you will surely have encountered the word awareness several times. Is it not true?
When I was still at the beginning of the practice, to tell the truth, I didn’t know either what it was or what it meant.
With time, thanks above all to the practice and the many books read. I wanted to deepen this topic because. It is very important not only on the mat but even in life.
In this article, I have incorporated much of how to be more self-aware.
Enjoy the reading… 😉
How to be more self-aware?
By awareness, we do not mean to be informed or know anything. It is not an external phenomenon, as many think.
In psychology, the term awareness refers to the perception and cognitive reaction of an animal to the occurrence of a certain condition or event.
It is an inner, profound condition and means being present on what is happening in the “here and now” and being without judgment.
Awareness is important
Now that you are clearer what this term means, let’s see why it is so important to develop greater awareness.
To learn more about reality. How many times have you changed your mind about someone after knowing him? Well, know that the mind works by constantly creating pre-judgments, and this conditions the vision of reality. Being aware of this allows us to see everything for what it is.
To learn more about yourself. In most cases, our behaviors are not actual actions but reactions to something that has been unleashed within us. This happens because we are almost always unaware of ourselves.
To defeat the suffering that comes from ignorance. According to yoga, one of the causes of illness is not seeing, being unaware, not seeing what reality actually is.
To make better decisions: Our decisions are often taken with a blindfold because we are not fully aware of either their cause or what they could bring. Developing greater awareness instead, we take this blindfold out of our eyes, and we can make better choices because we are more aware.
To let go of things that are not important in your life: if you are not aware of your attachments, your aversions you surely cannot fight the ghosts of the mind and let them go. We would all like to get these benefits, but it is difficult to develop awareness because of the mind.
Yoga and mental calm
First, to see all these processes, the mind must be calm and in this yoga with all its benefits gives us enormous help.
Until the mind is agitated, we cannot be fully aware, but we will continually perform impulsive actions that will give rise to samsara. The karmic seeds that eventually will sprout and give rise to new mental schemes.
Meditation and awareness
When there is no awareness, the so-called avidya arises. It is spiritual ignorance, which is one of the five afflictions of the mind that yoga fights.
We can slowly eradicate this affliction and develop greater awareness. When you sit on your meditation pillow and observe the mind, you are aware that:
It is continuous between one thought and another. When a sensation arises, we automatically classify it as positive and negative. We are always between past and future but rarely in the present. We can’t stay focused on the breath.
It is normal to experience all this during the first meditations, but already realizing it is the first step towards greater awareness.
The meditation that you do those few minutes a day, also called formal meditation, is just a kind of training to increase awareness in everyday life.
Awareness and the present moment
If you try to close your eyes for a moment and stay focused on the present moment, you can immediately perceive how much your mind is never in the here and now.
But if you think about it, the present moment is the only one that counts. Everything else is just an illusion.
Everything that has passed is over, while future things rarely go as we imagine. And then we must live more in the present moment.
While you realize all this, you have already taken a great first step. It is only by realizing that the mind is never in the here and now that we can start trying to live the present.
Awareness in everyday life
As I explained to you, meditation and yoga are two incredible tools that we can use to increase our awareness of reality and ourselves. Then the most important thing is to try to be present and aware throughout the day.
Here are some tips that I’m sure will help you:
When you eat, try to take more time to do it. Chew your food more, try to perceive all the flavors, move it between your teeth, and take a little break between bites. A teacher once told me that to eat more consciously. It would be useful to put the fork on the table every time you have food in your mouth. I think it’s a good habit.
Turn off the television when you’re eating, cooking, or talking to your family. I think TV is the number one enemy of awareness because it captures all your attention.
When you walk, try to walk more consciously and be focused on the movement of the body, on the shift of weight, on the support of the feet on the ground. Discover also the walking meditation to increase your awareness of this simple gesture.
Whenever an emotion arises, try to feel what causes your body, your breath, and your mind.
Be more careful with your breathing. Surely during the day, it will happen that an external situation changes your breathing. Try to know of what changes, whether it becomes more superficial or faster and when you realize it, try to make it natural again.
When you listen to someone, try to look him in the eye. It’s a great way to be more aware of what he’s saying.
Don’t let the phone disturb you when you’re doing something. When you are working, eating, talking to someone or seeing a movie, but the silent and take the phone back into your hand once you are done. Like television, I think mobile phones do not help at all to live consciously.
These are just examples. There would be many others. They are important to make you understand that everyday life is full of moments where you can exercise awareness. It is a commitment with yourself that requires sacrifice and perseverance, but the most important thing is to start.